The Myth of the Werewolf
El mito del hombre lobo
A historical, cultural, psychoanalytic, and anthropological journey through the myth of the werewolf.
Popularized by cinema, the legend of the werewolf has roots in mythology and classical literature. There are references to lycanthropy in Gilgamesh, Herodotus, Ovid, Petronius…the myth has mutated throughout the centuries—in medieval times, noblemen transformed into wolves, and later on come the demonic lycanthropes. This book traces the werewolf’s presence in folklore and the popular stories by the Brothers Grimm and Perrault, in nineteenth-century horror literature, and its diverse representations in cinema (including by Waldemar Daninsky, who created and interpreted Jacinto Molina—known as Paul Naschy—obsessively, or the varied incarnations of the lycanthrope in Mexican horror films during the Golden Age).
The werewolf is a character connected to the ideas of metamorphosis, transformation, and duality. One that explores animality, savageness, and evil. A figure charged with sexuality, eroticism, and desire, with many faces that allow for many different readings. This book approaches the topic from complementary angles— historical, cultural, psychoanalytical, anthropological—and reveals all of its complexity and richness to us. Roger Bartra analyzes it slowly, with a brilliant mix of erudition and amenity.
“One of the few Mexican intellectuals who, in the academic realm of social sciences, has been able to dialogue with himself, unfolding as author and critic, writer and reader, subject and object of his permeable anthropological meditation.” —Rafael Rojas, Letras Libres
“Bartra places us at the doors of a new critical space.” —Christopher Domínguez Michael, Proceso
ROGER BARTRA (Mexico City, 1942) has a PhD from the Sorbonne in Paris and is currently an Emeritus Researcher at the UNAM. He has been a visiting professor at the University of California San Diego, Johns Hopkins, Pompeu Fabra, Rutgers, Stanford, and Wisconsin, as well as at the J. Paul Getty Center in Los Angeles, among other places. He has published books about European mythologies such as El salvaje en el espejo, El salvaje artificial, and Las redes imaginarias del poder político; about the national identity crisis, such as La jaula de la melancolía and La sangre y la tinta; about the myth of melancholy in the Western world, such Cultura y melancolíaand El duelo de los ángeles; and about the links between cultural heritage and neural networks, such as Antropología del cerebro.